How many times do you brush your teeth in a day?” a friend of mine, who happened to be a dentist, asked randomly. “Twice a day, every day! Once ‘before’ awakening and once ‘after’ being off to my dream world.” I replied bluntly with my mouth wide open revealing the entire box in which my set of teeth dwells in. “App say tou saray jahan ke ultee batain banwa wa lo bus…”, was the expected reply, I received.
And before she could start gnashing her teeth on me, I spoke without any further twist. “I brush my teeth once in the morning before breakfast and once in night when I’m off to my bed.” After listening to my answer she retorted, “Chalo, I daily chalk various plans and suggestions for my patients in the hospital and I don’t know my own friend is also off tracked in this regard. How stupid I’m…!” “That’s what really you are”, I retorted. “What, what did u say? Pardon please …” she inquired promptly. “Nothing, nothing… was crooning a song merely.” I escaped once again.
That day while having tittle-tattle with my pal, I didn’t know that I would come to know such ample information about bad breath. And let me tell you, when it comes towards sharing something with others, despite being a “Sheikh” by caste, I never act like a miser. I merrily share knowledge with others. (Wesay, logically still there’s Sheikh Approach working behind it as they say; knowledge is the only wealth which increases by spending. So eventually, lucrative deal…!)
Bad breath has always been a sort of taboo subject. It is discussed secretly among colleagues behind the back of their unfortunately smelly friend. Foul breath and body odour are the two perpetrators that destroy the social image of a person, unbeknownst to him/her. If one does not do away with them, it is one’s comrades who have to suffer.
Although this may come across as funny, research in the West has led to the belief that bad breath lessens a person’s chance of getting a promotion at work. In some cases, it has even caused separation between couples!
Bad breath, hence, not only creates distance between friends, but also prevents one from advancing further in life. It seems that such a trivial problem can do much harm. All those who have this problem, take pity on your friends, please, and read this article till the end. Hope it works for you.
Bad Breather… Are You or Are You Not?
It is rather difficult for a person to admit and in some cases even realise that he/she is suffering from halitosis or bad breath. You can ask a trusted friend to help you out here. A true friend, who has stuck with you this long, despite your stinky breath, will give you an honest answer. However, there are many other ways of finding out whether you are a bad breather or not:
1. Cover your mouth and nose with your hand, exhale and smell your breath. If you suddenly feel nauseous, you know what is wrong.
2. Lick the back of your hand, let it dry for a few seconds and then smell it.
3. Place dental floss (a thread that is used to remove food debris and dental plaque from areas between our teeth which otherwise are not properly cleaned by brushing) in between your back teeth and smell the floss.
4. Grab the tip of your tongue with gauze and pull it outside as far as you can. Look in the mirror; if you notice that your tongue is a bit yellowish/white, it is clear that you are a ‘bad breather’.
5. If your mouth remains dry for a long time, your breath is certainly going to stink.
Causes of Bad Breath
Let us categorise some pertinent reasons which explain halitosis.
Poor Dental Hygiene
The most common cause is poor dental hygiene. The food remnants that stay on our tongue due to poor hygiene are assaulted by bacteria and eventually result in bad breath. Similarly, food particles that remain stuck in between the teeth decay and form stinking plaque.
Postnasal Drip is the condition in which the secretion from the nose glides down the throat incessantly. Some of the secretion sticks to the back of the tongue and after reacting with bacteria, results in a foul smelling mouth.
Experts assert that there can be other underlying reasons for bad breath like ailments of kidneys, stomach, throat and chest infections, tonsillitis and diabetes. In order to get rid of bad breath, these ailments must be cured first.
Other causes primarily include smoking, drinking, excess of eating pan-supari, gum diseases, dentures, braces and high protein diet. Smoking and drinking deteriorate the protective enamel of teeth and hence cause grave harm. Another significant cause of bad breath is insufficient flow of saliva. You might have experienced bad breath after slumbering, prolonged talking, exercising etc. It is caused by dryness of mouth.
I have come across numerous people who find cleaning their teeth a gruesome task. In a society like ours, hastily brushing teeth in the morning before the school/college bus arrives, or before leaving for work is thought to be more than enough. It is not until we are faced with a serious infection of the mouth or teeth that we begin to give importance to dental hygiene. As a friend of mine puts it, “Yaar, if you are good looking and dress handsomely, who is going to scrutinise your breath?” He had seriously underestimated the evils of bad breath. No amount of good looks can compensate for rotten breath.
“Most of my patients are barely familiar with the proper method of brushing and therefore they suffer from appalling mouth/gum diseases,” says a dental surgeon. “People should remember that whatever they eat and drink goes into their body through their mouth. If the entrance to your body is brimming with plaque and filth, then you should not expect the rest of your body to be healthy,” he further says.
“Brush your teeth twice a day, every day.” If I am not wrong all of us have heard this statement repeatedly in our schools. However, most of us are probably not familiar with the fact that the best time for brushing is after breakfast, not before of it. “It is highly advised to brush your teeth in the morning after breakfast. And if you brush your teeth before going to bed, you can do away with brushing them in the morning,” says Anum Zehra, a student of dentistry. “Brushing after breakfast will remove the food debris and dental plaque, thus preventing bad breath. Also, it reduces the risk of dental caries. As far as the cleanliness of the tongue is concerned, gently brushing the tongue with a dab of mouth wash can do the trick for sure. Nevertheless, care should be taken as cleaning the tongue too vigorously can badly affect taste buds on its surface. Other than that, tongue scrapers also come quite handy in getting rid of bad breath,” she elaborates.
Significance of Miswak
One of the best treatments for bad breath and unclean teeth is the constant use of miswak. It is the sunnah of Holy Prophet SAW. Cleaning the teeth with miswak before saying prayers and flossing them after every meal (especially meaty ones) is one of the most appropriate and convenient ways of killing bad breath.
• Chew cardamom seeds to sweeten the breath.
• Parsley leaves are rich in chlorophyll; chewing some leaves regularly result in fresh breath.
• Add half lemon juice to a glass of water and rinse your mouth.
• Use of mint is also helpful.
2) Brush the anterior surfaces in rotatory (circular) movements.
3) Brush the biting (chewing) surfaces and the inside (the side fac ing your tongue) of your upper and lower back teeth with the back and forth brushing motion, and the inside surfaces of the upper and the lower front teeth with the tip of the brush using gentle up and down strokes.
4) Brush the anterior, posterior as well as the chewing surfaces of all the teeth.
5) Gently brush the tongue to remove bacteria to freshen the breath.
6) Wash your mouth thoroughly with water
(Originally published in Us Magazine, The News International)